SAMPLE COVER LETTER

SAMPLE COVER LETTER
SAMANTHA PIERCE
14 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-3108
[email protected]
December 1, 2010
Miriam A. Nunberg
Staff Attorney
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
32 Old Slip, 26th Fl.
New York, NY 10005-2500
Dear Ms. Nunberg:
I am a first-year student at Harvard Law School and am writing to apply for a volunteer summer
internship with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in New York City. I
learned about your organization through Harvard Law School's public service database and
through Harvard students who have interned at branches of the OCR in other cities. Interning at
the OCR would allow me to continue my commitment to civil rights in education, and I feel
confident that I could contribute substantively to the work of your office while strengthening the
skills I’ll need for a career in education law.
As a senior at Cornell University, I wrote an honors thesis on the politics of bilingual education in
California and New York, focusing on strategies for protecting minority students’ language
rights. Because my career goal is to work on language issues, and discrimination generally, in
American education, I wrote my master’s thesis on language policy in Spanish schools in order to
gain knowledge of how other countries handle these complex issues.
This semester, I’ve gotten involved with Harvard Law School’s Advocates for Education, as well
as the Child and Youth Advocates, organizations which have exposed me to the work lawyers can
do to promote education rights. Additionally, joining the Latino Law Review has kept me
updated on the issues facing minority students. My work with the Harvard Defenders has begun
to give me experience in public interest litigation, and working at the OCR would allow me to
gain experience advocating for the specific client populations I hope to assist in my career.
Because of my familiarity with language issues and New York’s bilingual education policies, as
well as my fluency in Spanish, I would be very happy to work on cases dealing with language or
national origin discrimination, but I’d also be delighted at the opportunity to work in any of the
areas on which your office focuses, including LGBT and disability rights.
I have enclosed a resume highlighting my education and work experience. I hope to have the
opportunity to interview with you about a summer position, and I will call your office in a few
weeks to see if I may schedule a time to speak with you. Thank you in advance for your time and
consideration.
Sincerely,
Samantha Pierce
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
Evan Pouliot
11 Sacramento Street, Apt. 2
Cambridge, MA 02138
5 January 2011
Hyeon-Ju Rho
Country Director, China Program, American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative
Oriental Kenzo (Dongfang Yinzuo)
No. 48 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100027 P.R. China
Dear Ms. Rho:
I am a first year Harvard Law School student and am writing to apply for a summer internship with the
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative’s China Program. I first learned about ABA ROLI from
Hakim Lakhdar, Program Manager of Harvard’s Program on the Legal Profession and former ABA ROLI staff
in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. I was especially excited to learn of the China Program because of my
longstanding interest in working to promote good governance and the rule of law in China.
After working in China each summer during college, in 2008 I began a 15-month internship with the
International Justice Mission (IJM) in Bangalore, India. IJM focuses specifically on promoting rule of law and
improving public justice systems through local, individual human rights casework in the countries where it
operates. As legal assistant, I helped our office’s four staff lawyers coordinate with the local government and
judiciary to release bonded-debt laborers and prosecute their oppressors. In this role I researched and drafted
memos, reports and pleadings; managed case data and documents; and collaborated with business and legal
experts to create a training booklet for orienting police in major Indian cities to law enforcement core
competencies and specific bonded labor and IP issues.
I left IJM excited about strengthening public justice systems in developing countries, and more hopeful than
ever to do so in China. A specific desire to strengthen enforcement of Chinese labor law brought me to law
school with the ultimate career goal of promoting healthy, safe and respectful work environments in China.
Toward that end, editing an article on rule of law and the World Bank for the upcoming issue of Harvard’s
International Law Journal bolstered my enthusiasm and valuably exposed me to a wide variety of resources on
rule of law efforts and theory. I believe my eagerness to learn about and promote rule of law coupled with my
relevant past experience, familiarity with China, diligent work ethic and flexible attitude would make me an
excellent summer intern for the ABA ROLI China Program. I would tremendously value the opportunity to
work for highly motivated Chinese and American legal experts, network with Chinese lawyers and judges and
gain practical skills specifically relevant to my long-term interest in improving public justice in China.
Enclosed please find a detailed resume highlighting my relevant experience. I would appreciate the opportunity
to further discuss summer opportunities with the China Program and can be reached at
[email protected] or 617-495-3108. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Evan Pouliot
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
HLS Residential Mail Center
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
December 1, 2010
William R. Toliver, Esq.
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Georgia
Suite 600, Richard Russell Building
75 Spring Street, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Dear Mr. Toliver:
I am a first-year law student at Harvard Law School and am writing to apply for a volunteer
summer internship at your office. I was excited to learn about the opportunity to work at the U.S.
Attorney’s Office from Harvard’s Office of Public Interest Advising. Having grown up in
Duluth, I would like to return to the Atlanta area this summer, and hope to find an internship that
will allow me to further explore my interest in criminal prosecution.
After founding Springfield High’s Mock Trial team, I competed on and eventually led New York
University’s Mock Trial team to victory in the 2007 National Tournament. While my Mock
Trial experience taught me to argue both sides of a case, my favorite role was always as a
prosecutor. In addition to oral advocacy, I received an early start to developing solid legal
research and writing skills by working for several years at a private practice in Alpharetta, where
my responsibilities included drafting documents ranging from financial affidavits to motions for
summary and default judgments.
This past summer, I conducted research as a legal intern in the litigation department at Sullivan
& Cromwell, where I also assisted the lead counsel in a pro bono death penalty case. In another
pro bono endeavor, I put my oral advocacy skills to use for a victim of domestic violence,
obtaining an order of protection for her against her abusive husband. This semester at Harvard, I
have continued to hone my multilingual and writing skills by joining the International Law
Journal.
My previous legal experience, oral advocacy training, and strong academic background will
enable me to make a valuable contribution to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District
of Georgia. I have attached a resume and legal writing sample, and I would be happy to forward
my first semester transcript once it is available in February. This summer, I will be available to
work from May 23, 2011 to August 12, 2011. Please feel free to contact me by phone at (617)
495-3108 or by email at [email protected] Thank you in advance for your
consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Sincerely,
Erika Wu
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
10 Hastings Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138
January 3, 2006
Ken Johnson, Esq.
Executive Director
Bay Area Advocates
10 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Dear Mr. Johnson:
I am a first-year law student at Harvard Law School and I am writing to apply for a volunteer
internship in your office this coming summer. I was excited to learn about Bay Area Advocates
from Mary Sinclair, a staff attorney in your office who spoke at a Legal Practice Settings panel at
Harvard Law School last month. Having grown up in San Francisco, I would like to return for
the summer and hope to find an internship where I can continue my commitment to civil rights
work.
During the summer after my junior year at Duke, I volunteered at Ackerman & Alter, a small
civil rights law firm that specializes in employment discrimination. My case research explored
the civil rights of gay people who were denied jobs for which they were fully qualified and
women who received less pay than men who worked in similar positions. I learned a great deal in
a relatively short amount of time about legal research and writing about civil rights litigation. It
was this fulfilling experience that prompted me to go to law school, where I could pursue civil
rights work more directly.
During my first semester at Harvard, I have continued to concentrate on civil rights issues by
volunteering with the Boston chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. I have assisted our
lawyers on issues ranging from death penalty policies to fair housing legislation. My desire to
become a civil rights advocate has only increased as a result. I thoroughly believe that my
background, as well my familiarity with the San Francisco area and its political landscape, would
enable me to make significant contributions to Bay Area Advocates.
Enclosed is a detailed resume that highlights my experience and education. I would appreciate
the opportunity to meet with you to discuss summer employment and can be reached at (617)
495-8856. I will call your office next week about the possibility of arranging an interview while I
am in San Francisco the week of January 22. Thank you in advance for your time.
Sincerely,
Douglas D. Conti
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
123 Highland Ave, Apartment 1
Somerville, MA 02143
January 22, 2011
[Contact Name Here]
Senior Attorney
Women’s Legal Centre
7th Floor Constitution House, 124 Adderley Street
Cape Town, South Africa 8000
Dear Ms. Name:
I am a first-year student at Harvard Law School and am writing to apply for a summer internship at the
Women’s Legal Centre. The WLC immediately caught my eye on Harvard Law School’s public service
database due to my interest in and experience working with women’s rights internationally. This summer,
I am eager to build upon my understanding of women’s legal rights, and I believe that an internship with
the WLC would provide an ideal setting for me do so through a combination of impact litigation and legal
advocacy work.
My interest in international women’s rights began as an undergraduate, when I studied abroad in both
Morocco and Egypt. During this time, I was acutely aware of my position as an American woman, and
this awareness sparked my interest in the status of women internationally. I explored this interest as an
intern at Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program, where I honed my research and writing skills
through work with program fellows from Iran and Pakistan, and I further developed these skills by
writing an honors thesis that explored Morocco’s family law.
My thesis work drew my attention to the disparity that exists between law and access to justice; despite
Morocco’s recently reformed family law, the status of women remains largely unchanged due to failures
in education and implementation. I returned to Morocco as a Fulbright researcher to study this issue,
focusing specifically on unwed mothers. During this time, I interned at Oum El Banine, a NGO that
provides direct legal services for this group. Taking part in the organization’s work to educate women
about their legal rights emphasized to me that law is a powerful and necessary tool for social justice and
human rights. With this in mind, I decided to attend law school in order to further women’s rights through
the law.
I am drawn to the diversity and scope of the WLC’s work and am particularly interested in the WLC’s
work with Muslim personal law and domestic violence. I encountered these issues frequently during my
Fulbright research, and I am confident that my experience with these issues coupled with my substantial
research and writing skills would make me an asset to the WLC. I am fully funded this summer, and will
be available for ten weeks from June 1 to September 1. If you have any further questions or would like to
schedule an interview, I can be reached at [email protected] or at (617) 495-3108. Thank
you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Julia Ference
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
15 Beacon St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
[email protected]
617-495-3108
December 7, 2011
Jane Smith
Chief, Environmental Law Division
New York City Law Department
100 Church Street
New York, NY 10007
Ms. Smith:
I am a former urban planner in my first year at Harvard Law School, and I am writing to apply for a
position in the Environmental Law Division through the Summer Honors Program of the New York City
Law Department. I am excited about the opportunity to work in your office, particularly because of
conversations I had with an attorney in your division, Elizabeth Doe, and with Mike Jones, who interned in
the division in 2009. I believe that my background in municipal urban planning and in the environmental
arena will enable me to contribute significantly to the work of your office next summer.
Before beginning law school, I completed a master’s degree in urban planning and worked as an urban
planner for the City of Newton, Mass. In Newton, I administered a complicated regulatory framework
embodied in the City’s zoning ordinance, seeking to balance a generic set of rules that are structured to
foster a healthy and attractive community with the particular needs and wants of individuals in that
community. I believe that my experience with municipal land use regulation will serve as good preparation
for the complex challenges facing the law department of a large, diverse city like New York. Similarly,
through my graduate studies in urban planning, I gained insight on urban growth and development that will
prove valuable when addressing questions of environmental law on behalf of New York City.
My work as an urban planner and my earlier work an environmental consultant for the U.S. EPA
Brownfields Program led me to appreciate the importance of the complex interaction of federal, state and
local law. I decided to attend law school because I believe that the law is a critical tool for addressing
problems facing our natural and built environments and for maintaining a high quality of life for the people
that depend on these environments. I believe that work in the Environmental Law Division would enable
me to integrate and build on my background and the skills and knowledge I am acquiring in law school.
Finally, my family hails from New York (Queens), and I have immersed myself in the history, geography
and policies of the City of New York since I began visiting as a child. I would be very excited to contribute
to and to learn from the work of the Law Department next summer, especially given the many
environmental initiatives the City has embraced in recent years.
Please see the attached resume describing my qualifications in detail. I can provide my transcript as soon as
the grades from my fall classes are available. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to
discuss the possibility of a summer position in your office. I can be reached at 617-495-3108, and I will
follow up with a phone call within the next couple of weeks to see if it may be possible to arrange an
appointment for an interview. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Daniel Marchand
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
RACHEL MOSS
81 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-3108
[email protected]
December 3, 2008
Judith Liben
Staff Attorney
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
99 Chauncy St., Ste. 500
Boston, MA 02111-1722
Dear Ms. Liben,
I am a first-year student at Harvard Law School and am writing to apply for a volunteer summer
internship with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. I learned about your organization from Alexa
Shabecoff, the Assistant Dean for Public Service at HLS, and also had the opportunity to speak with Amy
Copperman, a staff attorney at MLRI. Both conversations strengthened my belief that MLRI would be an
ideal place to pursue my passionate interest in serving low-income families and individuals.
Last year, as a senior at the University of Texas, I wrote an honors thesis concerning public housing in
New Orleans, Louisiana. In the process, I developed a working knowledge of public housing policy,
design, and management and the socioeconomic traits of its residents. However, what occupied my
thoughts most was the enormous lack of understanding or communication between the poor and the
people charged with serving them. Especially once I visited New Orleans personally, I knew I should
spend my career working to bridge that divide.
Accordingly, this year I have gotten involved with Harvard’s Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP). I have
begun representing a tenant in his attempt to obtain a transfer within the Boston Housing Authority, and I
have dispensed advice by telephone to tenants with questions about their legal rights. These opportunities
to provide help and reassurance have been hugely gratifying, and they have honed my research and
communication skills a great deal. However, I understand the importance of learning both the “groundlevel” and “big picture” aspects of any public interest field. After my client-based experiences with TAP,
the law reform and impact litigation aspect of MLRI sound very appealing.
Because of my familiarity with the subject, I would be very happy to work in the housing area of MLRI’s
practice. I also realize there is a desperate need for advocacy in many fields besides housing, and I would
be thrilled to contribute to any of your organization’s other practice areas, such as civil rights,
employment, immigration or family law.
I have enclosed a resume highlighting my education and work experience, along with a writing sample. I
will be in Boston before December 16 and after December 28, and I look forward to scheduling a time to
talk in person. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Rachel Moss
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
Erin B. Lee
1563 Massachusetts Ave| Cambridge, MA 02138
617.495.3108 | [email protected]
January 20, 2011
Ms. Amy Hsu
123 Main Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
Dear Ms. Hsu,
I am a first year student at Harvard Law School and I am writing to apply for a Summer Law Clerkship
with particular interest in the Immigrants’ Rights Project. I was excited to learn about [Org Name]
through Ken Wang at the Chinese Progressive Association, who told me about your work around the
DREAM Act. As a woman of color from a low-income immigrant household, I feel strongly connected
to immigrant rights issues. My interest in immigrant rights has further developed through my work
experience with immigrant women fleeing abuse and my academic interest in anti-racism. I hope to begin
my legal work in this area with [Org Name].
As a Transitional Housing and Support Worker at YWCA Women’s Shelter in Toronto, the vast
majority of my clients were immigrant women of color and their children. This experience working at a
feminist, anti-oppressive organization not only emphasized for me the complexity of experiences lowincome immigrant women face, but also helped me develop strong active-listening and communication
skills. As part of the tight-knit staff team, I conducted exit interviews for women who were soon to leave
the shelter and enter the community, exploring their concerns and creating action plans, and supported
women already in the community in an array of concerns, for example advocating for them in conflicts
with public housing authorities and childcare benefits. I have also received active listening training and
developed my communication skills as a crisis line worker at the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, where I
provided crisis intervention and community referral to survivors of sexual assault.
I am also interested in immigrant rights through my work in anti-racism. I did extensive course work on
race relations as a Sociology major at Queen’s University, and combined this academic interest along
with my varied workshop facilitation experience to create and facilitate a three-hour anti-racism
workshop for student leaders as part of the Queen’s Committee Against Racial and Ethnic
Discrimination. I continue to seek opportunities to learn about these issues at Harvard Law School: I
participated in an Immigration Policy Reading Group with Deborah Anker in fall 2010 and will be taking
Race Relations Law in spring 2011.
I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my interest in these issues with you and can be reached at
617.495.3108 and [email protected] Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Erin Lee
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
January 15, 2011
[Contact Name Here]
Orleans Public Defenders
2601 Tulane Avenue, Suite 700
New Orleans, LA 70119
Dear Mr. Name,
I am a first-year student at Harvard Law School and I am writing to apply for an unpaid
summer law clerk position at the Orleans Public Defenders Office. While working as a
teacher in the Greater New Orleans area, I developed a fond appreciation for the culture
and people that make New Orleans such a unique place to live and work. I would like to
return for the summer and I hope to find an internship where I can continue my
commitment to public service.
Prior to coming to Harvard, I spent two years as a 4th and 5th grade teacher at C.F.
Rowley Alternative School in St. Bernard Parish. My students, who were two grade
levels behind their peers, came from low-income families and experienced a host of
educational, social and mental health challenges. While teaching, I developed the ability
to multi-task, solve complex problems, and adapt to a changing environment. I also
collaborated with a team of social workers, juvenile justice officials, and school
administrators to make decisions about which services my students needed to receive in
order to be successful. While I was fortunate to experience extraordinary success with my
students, I became frustrated that the gains they experienced inside the classroom
continued to be overshadowed by the challenges my students faced in their community
when they left school. It was this frustration that led me to apply to law school.
During my first year in law school, I have spent my time volunteering with Harvard
Defenders. Through Defenders I have had the opportunity to represent indigent clients in
criminal “show cause” hearings that are used to determine whether there is enough
probable cause to issue charges against an individual after a criminal complaint has been
filed. When representing a client, I am responsible for conducting interviews, preparing a
case presentation, and advocating on the client’s behalf in front of a clerk magistrate.
Working with Defenders has given me the opportunity to work with a diverse range of
clientele. My work with the organization has also allowed me to see firsthand the
interaction between criminal law and issues like immigration policy, social welfare, and
physical and mental disabilities.
I believe I could make a substantial contribution to your office if offered the opportunity.
I hope to meet with you in person to discuss my qualifications in further detail. I can be
reached at (617) 495-3108 or [email protected] Thank you for your
consideration.
Sincerely,
Madeleine Horton
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
319 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 495-3108
January 20, 2010
District Attorney Gerald T. Leone Jr.
Middlesex District Attorney’s Office
15 Commonwealth Avenue
Woburn, MA 01801
Dear Mr. Leone:
I am a first-year student at Harvard Law School and I am writing to apply for a summer
internship at the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. I hope that I can gain valuable legal
experience while using my skills to help keep our community safe.
As an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was
able to see firsthand the issues facing the community, including the effect crime can have on the
public. I went out and talked to people, writing stories that tied their personal experiences into
the larger issues that were going on in the community. I have a great interest in current events
and the issues that are affecting people’s lives. I think this would make me a good fit for the
Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.
I believe I can make a substantive contribution to your office. My undergraduate journalism
courses allowed me to develop strong writing skills, which I continue to hone as a first-year law
student. As a teaching assistant for a television news class at the University of Illinois, I was
responsible for directing a team of students as they broadcast a live, half hour newscast. If one of
the students made a mistake on the air, it was my job to figure out the best way to fix it. This
experience helped me learn to think on my feet, a skill every litigator needs. In addition, because
cooperation and communication were critical to getting the newscast on the air exactly at five
o’clock, I know how to effectively work with a team to get a task accomplished.
I know I will be a valuable addition to your office this summer if given the opportunity. I hope to
meet with you in person about the possibility of working as a summer intern at the Middlesex
District Attorney’s Office. I can be reached at (617) 495-3108 or
[email protected] Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Sara Tsvetanova
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
6102 HLS Residential Mail Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
August 23, 2010
NAME
Natural Resources Section
Environment and Natural Resources Division
United States Department of Justice
P.O. Box 23986
Washington, D.C. 20026-3986
Dear NAME,
I am in my second year at Harvard Law School, and am interested in volunteering for the Department of Justice’s
Environment and Natural Resources Division next summer, specifically in the Natural Resources Section. I have
submitted my application materials to ENRD’s central contact, and wanted to write to you directly to explain my
interest in the Natural Resources Section.
In assisting the litigators of the Environmental Protection Division of the California Attorney General’s Office this past
summer, I have experienced—and thrived on—the complexity of environmental litigation, and the responsibility of
representing the government and its people. One of many projects which found me happily working past regular
business hours was assisting a state hazardous waste enforcement action. The case required me to explore not only
Massachusetts’ spill regulations, but also bankruptcy and corporate law. It also taught me to put into practice my
knowledge of Civil Procedure, a subject in which I was named Dean’s Scholar. I learned that I find the myriad
substantive and procedural issues that cross-cut environmental litigation exhilarating.
My summer experience working under the state Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, Hazardous Material Release
Act, Oil Spill Prevention Act, and others also showed me that I enjoy balancing work under numerous legal regimes—
one of many reasons I find the Natural Resource Section so appealing. I believe that my detail-oriented nature, further
honed as a technical editor for the Environmental Law Review and as a teaching assistant for First Year Legal Research
and Writing, makes me particularly adaptable to the task of engaging with the various statutory regimes, geographic
areas, and courts with which your Section works. Additionally, your Section’s mission of representing the
government’s interest in protecting and effectively managing resources is one to which I am devoted. When I spoke to
Edward Passarelli about his work with your Section, he talked animatedly about the Asian carp invasion in the Great
Lakes—enthusiasm I remembered when I nervously monitored the entrance of the invasive Japanese beetle to
California this summer. As an undergraduate student of geology, I have devoted years to understanding the many
factors that can impact ecosystems, and wish to devote many more to litigating effective ways to protect them.
In addition to my genuine interest in your Section’s work, I would bring to your Section writing and research skills I
have developed as a senior editor for the Harvard Law and Policy Review and on the Environmental Law Review. I
will continue to sharpen my legal writing skills—for which I was recognized as one of the outstanding brief writers in
my first-year writing class—as a teaching assistant for that class. This role, along with my service on the executive
board of Harvard’s Environmental Law Society, will also allow me to further hone my communication skills, which I
initially developed as a nationally-ranked impromptu public speaker.
I know that spending this summer with the Natural Resources Section would offer an invaluable opportunity to see
how attorneys use these skills to represent the government’s interest in protecting its resources. Thank you in advance
for your time. I will contact you in the coming weeks to see if there is anything else you need from me.
Sincerely,
Mary Smith
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
January 3, 2011
Mr. John Smith
1 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Dear Mr. Smith:
I am a second year student at Harvard Law School interested in volunteering for Legal Services
Organization this summer, specifically in your immigration department. The focus and goals of
your organization are congruous with my beliefs as to how to ensure civil rights for immigrants.
My ability to thrive in a mission-driven environment, coupled with my personal and professional
commitment to fight for the rights of all people, makes me ideally suited for this position.
Through working with your experienced lawyers I hope to make a palpable difference in
advancing immigrant rights.
My interest in immigration law stems from stories about how my maternal grandmother and her
immediate family reached the shores of the United States from Europe in the spring of 1940,
barely escaping the dragnet of the Nazis. This semester, I have been working with Harvard’s
Immigration and Asylum Clinic to help people from war-torn countries, such as Uganda, file for
asylum. Seeing the daily struggles of these refugees and listening to their harrowing stories have
inspired me to assist them in obtaining immigrant rights.
An internship with Legal Services Organization would give me an opportunity to align my
ongoing interest in advancing immigration rights with the goals of your organization. This past
summer, while interning at MFY Legal Service in New York City, I refined my legal training by
acquiring further skill sets to become an effective public advocate. The focus of my work was to
help clients, many of whom were immigrants, with housing issues. During my internship at
MFY, I furthered my communication skills by conducting client interviews. I also strengthened
my research and legal writing skills by composing memos and drafting pleadings. I will bring
these skills, along with a strong work ethic and personal commitment, to Legal Services
Organization.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the possibility of volunteering with
Legal Services Organization this summer. A copy of my resume is attached. I will contact you
within the next few weeks to follow up. Please do not hesitate to call me at (617) 495-3108 or
email me at [email protected] with any questions. Thank you very much for your
time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Melissa Green
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
CAITLIN THORNTON
42 Linneaen Street, Apt. B · Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-3108 · [email protected]
September 13, 2011
William Jones
Cohen Milstein
1100 New York Ave NW, Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20005
Dear Mr. Jones:
I am writing to apply for a summer associate position at Cohen Milstein. I had the privilege of
inviting Joseph Sellers to speak at Harvard last year for a Women’s Law Association event about
Dukes v. Walmart. During the course of our dinner conversation, it became clear to me that I was
attracted to Cohen Milstein’s mix of socially responsible work, complex litigation and fast-paced
and challenging environment. Since then, I have spoken at length with Sarah Smith, a past
summer associate in your D.C. office, who agreed that Cohen Milstein would be an exceptional
fit for my interests and abilities.
I came to law school with a strong commitment to public interest litigation. For two years after
college, I worked in the Sex Crimes Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. I found
myself energized by the opportunity to work for and with vulnerable populations, and I
discovered that litigation can be a useful and exciting tool. Initially, I was drawn to the field of
employment law because of my work on gender issues. However, after taking employment law
as my one elective last spring, I discovered that I am interested in the general field. I therefore
am particularly interested in Cohen Milstein’s Civil Rights and ERISA practices.
While I am convinced that a summer in your office will challenge me to be a better lawyer, I also
feel confident that my strong foundation in public interest litigation would allow me to assist
your attorneys with their work. In addition to the two years of legal work before law school, I am
currently a student attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB). Although I have
clinical mentor, I have my own docket of family law and employment cases. Both HLAB and
the district attorney’s office have prepared me to juggle a complicated caseload, to handle both
pre-trial and trial work, and to work with a wide variety of clients and supervisors. In addition, I
had the opportunity to refine my legal research and writing skills at the Women’s Law Project
this past summer. Finally, I am building upon my 1L employment law course with a class on
employment discrimination this semester.
I believe that my legal research and writing skills, my litigation experience, and my dedication to
Cohen Milstein’s mission will enable me to be a useful member of your team of summer
associates, and hope I will have the opportunity to interview with you. Enclosed please find my
resume, writing sample, and transcript. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Caitlin Thornton
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
40 Oaklyn Street, Apt. 3
Somerville, MA 02143
October 24, 2006
Sandra Hauser, Esq.
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
918 F Street, N.W., Suite 412
Washington, D.C. 20004
Dear Ms. Hauser:
I am in my second year at Harvard Law School and am writing to apply for an internship working
with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty this summer. Alexa Shabecoff, Assistant
Dean for Public Service at Harvard Law School, suggested that I contact you personally. As you can
see from the enclosed resume, I have experience working directly with low income clients. I have
worked on grassroots organization, advocacy for individual clients and policy development. I believe
that impact litigation will be an important addition to my experience.
Working as a VISTA volunteer in poor, rural North Carolina provided me with grassroots experience
and a perspective on how the law often inhibits, rather than assists, efforts to improve individual
communities. My tenure at VISTA helped me develop the interpersonal skills crucial to assisting
clients effectively. In addition, I had the opportunity to continue my work in policy development,
specifically housing policy, which I had previously performed at Habitat for Humanity.
Last summer, I served as a translator for the Australian aborigines, enabling their stories of injustice
to be more widely read. Our work was constrained by judicial interpretation of the relevant land
rights statutes and by administrative institutions. While in Australia, I came to see that the aborigines
had problems which, in many ways, mirrored the problems of North Carolina's rural poor. These
hardships, which I aim to address more effectively with my legal education and background, include
poor housing, inadequate education and unresponsive legal systems.
During law school, I have gained advocacy skills through clinical programs and extracurricular
activities such as counseling clients, gathering information, providing referrals and advocating in
court. Working directly with clients in the legal system has given me opportunities to see how the
law affects real people, but that justice often seems to get lost in the shuffle of overwhelming
caseloads.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss your current projects and how I might be of
assistance this summer. I have enclosed my resume and writing sample. I can be reached at (617)
555- 8553 and will call you in a week to discuss the possibility of a meeting. Thank you for your
consideration.
Sincerely,
Louisa Rose
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
Ms. Marie Richardson
Director of Legal Recruitment, The Legal Aid Society
199 Water Street, New York, NY 10038
February 18, 2011
Dear Ms. Richardson:
I am a third-year student at Harvard Law School and am very interested in joining the Legal Aid Society as an
attorney. After learning more about your work, I believe that the Legal Aid Society would be an ideal place for
me to work because it builds on my longtime commitment to serving people who face social inequality. In turn,
I hope to further Legal Aid’s mission through my dedication and experience. The Legal Aid Society’s
grassroots work appeals greatly to my passion for legal services, and New York offers a myriad of opportunities
to work with clients from different backgrounds on pressing issues. I very much hope to become a part of the
Legal Aid Society’s mission to address these urgent needs.
This past summer, I was an intern at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest working in disability law, health
justice, and environmental justice. There, I had the opportunity to engage in community lawyering involving
both direct services and systemic law reform. During my first summer in law school, I worked at Advocacy,
Inc., a disability law organization. I had a chance to work on both individual cases and policy research. Through
all of my legal experience, I have come to see that the power of the law, strong in everyone's lives, has a
particular force and urgency for underrepresented people in challenging situations. They rely heavily on the
legal process to protect their rights, secure the benefits they are entitled to, and fundamentally improve their
quality of life.
Prior to entering law school, I worked at a highly diverse Title I elementary school as an AmeriCorps member.
By helping connect families to the school and community resources, I developed the interpersonal skills needed
to effectively assist clients from a variety of backgrounds. I also gained awareness of the many issues facing
people of color, those in poverty, and immigrants. Before this position, I worked at a community-based activity
program for children with autism. There, I developed close relationships with my students and witnessed the
social barriers often faced by people with disabilities.
In law school, I have had many opportunities to expand my commitment to public service and develop my skills
as an advocate. I have taken courses in disability law, child welfare, and gender and racial justice. Through the
Family Law clinic, which I have participated in for four semesters, I work directly with LGBT clients and those
who have experienced domestic violence. Through the Harvard Mediation Program, I have had the opportunity
to mediate cases in small claims court, help low-income and elderly people living in local housing authorities
resolve disputes with their neighbors, and resolve conflicts involving criminal charges against juveniles. This
year, I have also participated in intensive workshops in negotiation and trial advocacy, and these courses will
enable me to serve clients more effectively. All of these professional, academic, and extracurricular experiences
have exposed me to the structural inequality faced by many in our society and have reaffirmed my commitment
to using law as a means to promote social justice.
Both during and before law school, I have been passionately committed to providing services that people need to
survive and thrive. In addition to this dedication to clients, I have developed legal advocacy skills that will
transfer to any kind of law. I very much hope that I will have the opportunity to speak with you about how I
may contribute to the Legal Aid Society’s work meeting low-income New Yorker’s legal needs. Thank you for
your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Christine Light
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
1595 Darlington Ave - 57
Cambridge, MA 02138-8212
October 26, 2006
Stuart Rappaport, Esq.
Public Defender of Santa Clara County
County Government Center, West Wing
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Dear Mr. Rappaport:
I am a third year Harvard Law student determined to pursue a career as a public defender upon
graduation. I am particularly interested in working for your office and would like to speak to you
about the opportunities available.
As you can see from the enclosed resume, I have a strong background in criminal defense work.
During the summer after my first year of law school, I worked for the Public Defender Service
for the District of Columbia, where I helped attorneys prepare for trial and conducted extensive
research on whether juveniles could be granted jury trials under district law. In my second
summer I interned for the North Carolina Resource Center, researching issues for capital trials
and appeals, writing court documents and meeting with death row inmates. Perhaps my most
gratifying work experience came in interviewing a woman on death row about her childhood,
looking for signs of abuse to support her appeal. Working with her confirmed my commitment to
client-based criminal defense work.
In addition to my summer positions, I have taken every opportunity possible to prepare myself
for a career in criminal defense. I have completed virtually every criminal law course offered by
Harvard Law School. Through my work on the Women's Law Journal, I have refined my
research and writing skills. My training during the Trial Advocacy Workshop has helped me to
develop the strong oral advocacy skills critical in the courtroom, which I am now putting to use
in the Criminal Justice Institute clinical program.
My academic and professional training, combined with my passion for criminal defense work,
make me a strong candidate for a public defender position. I would appreciate the chance to
discuss my qualifications with you. I can be reached at (617) 555-6452 and will call your office
in the next few weeks to speak about the possibility of setting up an interview. Thank you for
your time and attention.
Sincerely,
Elizabeth Weiss
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
70 Park Street, Apt. 41
Somerville, MA 02143
November 7, 2006
Derek K. Childress
Attorney Recruitment Coordinator
U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
450 5th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20549
Dear Mr. Childress:
I am a third year law student at Harvard Law School and am interested in pursuing a career
representing the government in securities and finance fraud cases. The focus of the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission on enforcing the law in the financial and business world
for the public good, rather than for private interests, is the perfect fit for my interests and skills.
I spent my first summer in law school as a summer associate at a small litigation firm in
Portland, Oregon, honing my research and writing skills. During my second summer, I worked at
Davis, Polk & Wardwell in New York, where I assisted attorneys in a complex financial fraud
case. Although I enjoyed the substantive legal matters involved in the case, I found myself more
engaged by the prosecution's arguments. In my third year of law school, I enrolled in a clinical
placement at the United States Attorney's Office in Boston, investigating the prior convictions of
a repeat felon, helping to prepare the present case against him and assisting during the trial. I
found the work both in and out of court tremendously compelling, reaffirming my interest in
becoming a federal lawyer.
While in law school, I have taken numerous courses on finance, including Corporations,
Bankruptcy and Consumer Finance, which have strengthened my understanding of securities and
finance. As the Notes Editor for the Journal on Legislation, I have gained significant experience
with collaborative and detail-oriented work and have further refined my research, writing and
analytical abilities.
The skills I have gained during my three years at Harvard Law School and the strong
commitment I have to working on securities fraud issues make me a qualified candidate for a
Staff Attorney position at the Securities and Exchange Commission. I have enclosed a resume
for your consideration and will contact you next week to discuss my candidacy. If you wish to
reach me, please call (617) 624-2120. Thank you in advance for your time and I look forward to
speaking with you soon.
Sincerely,
Daniel Jacobson
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
December 3, 2010
Carol Newman
United States Attorney
One Federal Plaza
City, New State 11111
Dear Ms. Newman:
I am a 2006 graduate of Harvard Law School and a litigation associate at Colby Bates LLP. Although I have
been fortunate to have had a terrific experience at Colby, my long-term goal has always been a career in
public service. I am writing to express my strong interest in a position in the Criminal Division of the United
States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New State.
During my time at Colby Bates, I have gained extensive litigation and investigative experience in a wide
range of civil and criminal cases. I spent much of last year, for example, preparing for trial in a securities
matter brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission. In that case, I drafted and argued motions and
prepared many of our third party and expert witnesses for deposition and for trial. In addition to this matter,
I have helped to conduct investigations regarding allegations of kick-backs to health care providers,
backdating of stock options, and theft of trade secrets.
I have also had exceptional opportunities in my pro bono practice to develop as a litigator and to pursue my
commitment to public service. This summer I secured political asylum for a client persecuted in her home
country for her religious beliefs, authoring all submissions to the Department of Homeland Security and
representing her before the Hearing Officer. In a second case, I successfully represented a client facing
eviction from public housing, including the examination and cross-examination of witnesses at the Housing
Court hearing. I am currently representing an indigent criminal defendant in the appeal of his state court
conviction. In addition to authoring the brief, I will be arguing the case next month before the New State
Court of Appeals.
My longstanding interest in serving as an Assistant United States Attorney dates to my first summer in law
school, when I interned in the Major Crimes Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western
District of Illinois. I found my work, from assisting in trial preparation on a drug trafficking case to drafting a
section of an appellate brief on a Sentencing Guidelines issue, incredibly engaging. Seeing the talent and the
dedication of the AUSAs in that office inspired me to want to pursue a career as a federal prosecutor.
The chance to join your office would be a tremendous opportunity and honor. I believe that my academic
and professional training, combined with my passion and dedication, make me a strong candidate for a
position as an Assistant United States Attorney. I have enclosed my resume for your review. I hope that you
will allow me the chance to speak with you in person about the possibility of joining your office and can be
reached at (201) 545-3354 or [email protected] Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
David M. Sullivan